The 2018 All Black season has brought it’s fair share of stories to date.
From two nail-biting finishes against the Springboks, to the first ever Test played at a sold out Trafalgar Park in Nelson – it’s been a year to remember already, and the Northern Tour still beckons.
However, the Staff here at IRANZ have been particularly fond of two very specific stories.
That is, the stories of All Black debutants Karl Tu’inukuafe and Angus Ta’avao.
Tu’inukuafe’s story has been spread far and wide. As an Auckland bouncer weighing in excess of 150kg and serious health implications, in remarkable fashion, Karl would turn his life around.
After picking up rugby again to improve his health, Karl made the North Harbour Mitre10 Cup side before making his debut for the Chiefs. Just three years later, he made a teary-eyed debut for the All Blacks off the bench against France.
The story of Ta’avao, while a little less “fairy-tale” like, is no less impressive.
Having played professionally for 9+ years for teams such as the New Zealand Under 20’s, Auckland, Taranaki and three different Super Rugby sides – Ta’avao toiled for almost a decade and had his 28th birthday before he would have his chance.
After an unfortunate injury to incumbent prop Joe Moody, Angus Ta’avao was called into the 2018 Rugby Championship All Black Squad. He travelled with the team to Buenos Aires, and before he knew it, he was coming off the bench in his All Black debut, contributing to a 35-17 victory over Los Pumas.
There is a message to be learned from the stories of these two men.
A message, that while “never give up” is a term used in abundance, it has very valid meaning. A reminder that hard work does pay off, and that you never know what is possible until you try.
IRANZ Courses were designed to provide a pathway for players that dreamed of wearing the Black jersey. However what we uncovered was a formula that rings true for a player, or coach for that matter, regardless of the level.
If you or someone you know has ambition to perform at a higher level in rugby, as a player or coach, our programmes have been crafted specifically to provide exactly what is required to reach whichever level it is you desire.
Don’t die wondering!